Burtynsky, whose incisive work explores the dilemmas at the heart of our globalized world, is known for portraying the visible outcomes of humankind's impact on the environment. The exhibitions coincide with the publication of two new books: Salt Pans (Steidl, September 2016) and Essential Elements (Thames & Hudson, November 2016).
Essential Elements provides an overview of Burtynsky's work across four decades, including both iconic and previously unpublished images from his series including Quarries; Oil; and Water. All of these bodies of work have resulted in exhibitions and, in the case of Water, a feature-length documentary film titled Watermark, 2013.
Included in both exhibitions are selections from Burtynsky's new body of work titled Salt Pans. The work was made in India at a barren, salt-producing area in Gujarat, where thousands of families toil in the hot, flat, dry wasteland with little access to fresh water, schools, or medical help. Spread over nearly 2,000 square miles, the area is also known as "Survey Number Zero," because no land survey has been conducted there since the end of the British rule in India in 1947. From his unique vantage point, Burtynsky captured the shapes, patterns, and colors of the land and the shallow artificial ponds from which salt has been harvested for many centuries.